#328/ 365 – ‘Vertigo’ (1958) – 128 mins
IMDb Challenge #204 / 250 – Ranked #44 – Lovefilm
Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) is hired to watch ghost-like Madeleine Elster (Kim Novak), a disturbed young woman. He falls in love, but his vertigo renders him powerless to prevent her suicidal leap from a bell-tower. Mentally scarred, he roams San Francisco until meeting Judy, a dead ringer for Madeleine, after which the truth slowly unravels.
Though a box office failure in 1958. Vertigo is now critically considered to be ‘The Master of Suspense’ most acclaimed film. Right from the outset Hitchcock displays his trademark and innovative use of camera shadows and tricks to draw you into the suspense and does a fine job blending all of Vertigo’s diverse elements together. It’s a mystery, a love story and a thriller all in one.
Acting wise and in what was to be his final of four collaborations with Hitchcock James Stewart (one of my favourite actors of all-time) is perfect in the lead role of Detective John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson delivering a dark and convincing performance of the man obsessed, a complex and calculating role, and one far removed from his normal “everyman” characters. As well as Stewart there is also Kim Novak who is haunting and sensual as the disturbed damsel, with Novak delivering a good level of intrigue to her characters of Madeleine and Judy.
Overall and personally I just felt the story in Vetigo wasn’t as compelling Hitchcock’s other masterpieces that preceded it, most notably ‘Strangers on a Train – (1951)’ and ‘Rear Window – (1954)’. That said for all lovers of Hitchcock – Vertigo is still one to check out.